It’s been almost three years now sine Southern Cameroon was plunged into a political crisis, as a result of lawyers demanding that the integrity of their courts be upheld. This demand was accompanied by peaceful protests, as they called on the government of Cameroon to consider their request. Teachers, from these regions also joined forces with the lawyers to voice their own concerns, about the assimilation of the French system of education into the English regions. Within a few days, university of Buea students also became part of the protests, in order to add weight to the teachers’ concerns and issues. The response of the government was violence, as it dispatched its forces of law and order to arrest, detain, and torture the protesters.
This brutal response led to the killing of some of the students, such as Akum Julius who was killed in Bamenda in December of 2016. In the Buea university campus, female students were forced from their rooms, beaten, and raped, while others were left with life-changing injuries. The violence escalated as more and more Anglophone civilians went on peaceful protests with trade unions demanding that their basic rights be respected, and marginalization against them stopped. As Nelson Mandela once said: ‘To deny people their human rights, is to deny their very humanity,’ these protesters were only asking for what is rightfully theirs.
The government went all out to ensure that the people of Southern Cameroon were silenced. The vicious killings continued unabated, with children and the elderly inclusive. There is the killing of four month old Ngum Martha who was gunned at her parent’s house in the South West region on May 20 this year. Patients were burnt in Mbingo hospital, and villages being torched, forcing the residents to take shelter in the bushes and forests, with some escaping to Nigeria as refugees.
The French Cameroon government continues, to be in denial, of the gross violation of human rights in Southern Cameroon. Those unlawfully imprisoned, live in squalid and inhumane conditions, while experiencing torture, without any hope of justice. School closures as a result of the insecurity, imply that a generation of Southern Cameroonians will lose out on their basic right to education.
As Nelson Mandela, the pioneer freedom fighter in Africa said:’ No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.’ I therefore join my fellow Southern Cameroonians under the banner of the SCNC UK to implore the international community, such as the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States of America , and the African Union to intervene in this crisis as we the people of Southern Cameroon fight for our independence from Southern Cameroon.
Sirri A Fondo